5 reasons Siri frustrates me

5 reasons Siri frustrates me

Summary: I love Siri, but it's going to be a long time before I completely surrender to it

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I've been using Siri on and off since I got my hands on my own iPhone 4S. I was originally excited about the possibilities of reading my e-mails, sending texts, sending e-mails, and more, all while driving. Unfortunately, while it's fun to talk with Siri and show it off to others, there are still many reasons why the software is still in beta, and not truly ready for prime time. I have detailed my top five below:

1. Siri doesn't observe the silent rule: I use my iPhone at night, while lying in bed. When in that mode, I usually turn the ringer off, and lower the volume on the phone itself by playing a video and then muting the audio. Unfortunately, Siri still doesn't care and thanks to Apple integrating a microphone key into the on-screen keyboard, one mistype and you hear a tone. This tone isn't quiet either, and tends to disturb others that may be sleeping around me. Also, if Siri is talking, pressing the volume buttons has no affect on how loud or soft Siri talks.

2. Siri needs to use U.S. English and be in the U.S. if you want to look for businesses, maps, and traffic: I like to change up the voices that Siri uses to talk to me. However, if you use anything but U.S. English, you can't even ask it where the pizza places are around you. I can understand that during the beta period it's U.S. only, but why can't it speak in something other than U.S. English and still be fully functional?

3. Siri still makes a lot of mistakes: I asked Siri if it was raining outside. It misinterpreted and gave me a list of people from my contacts that it thought I wanted to call. Instead of re-starting my query I figured I'd just ask the question again. It then started dialing one of the contacts that it thought sounded like "raining". It dialed before I could exit Siri.

4. Siri can't read e-mails: Siri can tell me that I have "at least 25 e-mails" but then it apologizes saying "I can't read them to you. Sorry about that.". On the other hand, it can read text messages to me. Why can't it read my e-mails?

5. Siri has no offline mode: Most people may be ok with this, but why can't Siri work without an internet connection? Apple would have you believe that Siri requires the advanced hardware of the iPhone 4S, even though it has already been ported to other iOS devices, and previously worked on the 3GS before Apple acquired it, but it really just requires a constant internet connection. This is the most disturbing to me, since services like Siri existed more than ten years ago in Microsoft Research, but never released because the networks couldn't handle it. Now we have constant connectivity for mobile devices and insanely powerful phones. Why not bake some intelligence into the phone itself, so that we at least have limited functionality when the phone is offline or the service is overloaded?

The above is just a sample of the five things so far that are frustrating me about Siri. Don't get me wrong, it's a really solid offering (in beta) and I've been enjoying it, but it's going to be a long time before I completely surrender to Siri for some of my more important tasks.

Topics: Telcos, Apple, Browser, Collaboration

Joel Evans

About Joel Evans

With more than 15 years of mobile, Internet and wireless experience, Joel specializes in taking existing brands and technologies into the mobile and wireless space. Joel is currently the VP of Strategy Integration for Mobiquity, an enterprise-class mobile solutions provider.

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102 comments
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  • RE: 5 reasons Siri frustrates me

    I will admit I am an Android fan boy through and through, but even I will admit that most of these points aren't fair. #1 is a valid point and they should be able to fix this in update releases. But points 2,3 and 5 are user error. Why would you not use US english? It is almost like you are trying to break it. Same with #3. You knew it didn't get it right but rather than restarting you plowed through the results. I would expect it to react that way. Since Siri uses several online sources to get answers it should need online connectivity. Complaining about it not working offline is not valid. Not sure why it wouldn't read emails but I would think that future updates would address that.
    Cyberpyr8
    • RE: 5 reasons Siri frustrates me

      @Cyberpyr8 Responding to point 2, why would you not use US english? simply, you can be a tourist in US using your toungue trying to find a pizza place.
      devoklr
      • RE: 5 reasons Siri frustrates me

        @devoklr Agreed, but he is not a tourist and the product probably isn't designed to use that functionality yet. I just think he was given the assignment "See what 5 things are broken in Siri". I don't think the fact that he did things that maybe the program doesn't have complete yet should be judged. The good news is that you don't HAVE to use Siri. I think that like most Android users, the thrill of Siri will fade away. I can tell my phone to do things but I only use it sparingly. You find that you don't want to be "that guy" talking to your phone in the store all of the time. I can do most things faster manually anyway. Unless I am driving I don't want to tell my phone what to do. But even driving I am trying to avoid using the phone all together for safety reasons.
        Cyberpyr8
    • RE: 5 reasons Siri frustrates me

      @Cyberpyr8, 2; Can not be considered user error. What if you were to change your GPS to use some language other than US Male English? Would you expect it to shut down or refuse your mapping request? Of course you wouldn't. This is just a matter of Time to Market sloppiness. They wanted to be first to get this mobile feature out on the street. Now they have to deal with complaints and a tainted product opinion. 3; Have you never used '411'? How often does it result in a first time correct connection? My experience is, seldom does it work as advertised, Dragon (DNS 11.5) not withstanding. As to point 5; it is not important to me, since I don't think the technology is mature enough to rely upon it, especially for mission critical use. That said, the issue with it working off-line is a big deal. If I pay for functionality, I expect it to function error-free at least 95+% of the time. Having made that point, until they can untether the technology, they should not offer it. What's the point? The other side of that argument says that they can build more capability into the hardware, but the phone will be too big and use even more of the new battery's resources. None of these are user induced issues, although they definitely impact the all-important 'user experience'. Now, people who want to use all of the new functionality will need to wait for the inevitable patch-fest. I'd be disappointed if I bought a 4S. I decided to wait for more maturity (never buy a V1.0 ANYTHING?) and just bought the love of my life an iPhone 4 and will revisit investigation of the 4S or iPhone 5 Turbo, Gold, Super, Pro if it (they) look promising next time my contract is up for renewal, cuz the parts bin is pretty impressive looking, from my point of view.
      ExEC135CrewDog
    • RE: 5 reasons Siri frustrates me

      @Cyberpyr8

      Besides if it worked off line- Apple wouldn't know what siri or you were upto.

      Has anyone questioned apple about the security ramifications of your conversations being cloud based(/stored)?
      imaginarynumber
      • RE: 5 reasons Siri frustrates me

        @imaginarynumber congratulations, it looks like you're the first one that used his brain on this one :-) (no sarcasm intended)
        belli_bettens@...
    • RE: 5 reasons Siri frustrates me

      @Cyberpyr8 'Cause it's fun to have a foreign accent (like Australian) on these devices. There's no technical reason why the area you can search should be linked to the voice you choose.
      chadness
    • RE: 5 reasons Siri frustrates me

      @Cyberpyr8

      Why would you not use US english - when you are outside the US.
      cbenci
    • RE: 5 reasons Siri frustrates me

      @Cyberpyr8

      Why would you not use US english - when you are outside the US.
      cbenci
  • RE: 5 reasons Siri frustrates me

    Nice post. You make some valid points. My feeling with this type of technology is that it either works perfectly or shouldn't be implemented at all. Our minds naturally use the transitive property when it comes to similar functions...so naturally when it works for something we assume it'll work for something similar (ie read emails).
    thejellymon
  • RE: 5 reasons Siri frustrates me

    Funny how you find something that is only come out frustrating. A few days ago, you didn't realize that it could be possible to so easily talk to your phone. Now, you are already frustrated that it isn't working very well. One impatient guy you are and it makes you sound so ungrateful. It reads as if it is disrupting your whole life. How about waiting till it is out of beta?
    regsrini
    • RE: 5 reasons Siri frustrates me

      @regsrini

      Sounds like transitioning from girlfriend to wife. = )
      Splunge
    • RE: 5 reasons Siri frustrates me

      @regsrini It's a bit like the Louis C.K. line, "Dude, how does the world owe you something [perfect] that you didn't even know existed thirty seconds ago?"
      tim_walters
    • RE: 5 reasons Siri frustrates me

      @regsrini; I don't think that is impatience at all. If somebody just hacked up a $700 furball, they should be confident that their new toy functions the way all the advertising under the shrinkwrap, and in the industry press claim. Why would even early adopters be expected to be happy with buggy purchases? As I said in an earlier post; "(never buy a V1.0 ANYTHING?)".
      ExEC135CrewDog
      • RE: 5 reasons Siri frustrates me

        @ExEC135CrewDog List which items it is advertised to do that it doesn't.
        non-biased
  • RE: 5 reasons Siri frustrates me

    Siri is one of those apps that will be fun to use at first then become more of a hassle than its worth after a while. Sure talking into your phone just to do it will bring enjoyment for about 5 minutes, but then as the day goes on you will see you are faster/more productive by typing in the keys.
    LoverockDavidson_-24231404894599612871915491754222
    • RE: 5 reasons Siri frustrates me

      @LoverockDavidson_ That is what the other voice servcies are like. I have been using Siri since release. I use it to make appointments reminders on a regular basis. Siri works fine now looking foward to future updates. Siri shines when im driving as well. I also use Siri alot to search for my latest boxing results and such and she does a good job understanding me and the boxers I follow, alot of them which have names i can hardly say.
      I imagine you have not even attemtped to try and use Siri on a regular basis.
      illwill112
      • RE: 5 reasons Siri frustrates me

        @illwill112
        Its only a matter of time before you stop using it. Like I said, you are using it now for the excitement of it, then eventually you'll stop.
        LoverockDavidson_-24231404894599612871915491754222
      • RE: 5 reasons Siri frustrates me

        @illwill112; More likely, most users will be the annoying fools who, not understanding the foundations of signal/noise ratio, will scream into their phones in restaurants, on the sidewalk, at work, and just annoy the bejezes out of everyone within earshot in an attempt to bend the device to their will.
        ExEC135CrewDog
      • RE: 5 reasons Siri frustrates me

        @ExEC135CrewDog Probably less annoying than haters like yourself and fanboys running their mouths on here with no clue what they are talking about.
        non-biased